A royal wedding may be just what Britain needs
Prince William sure knows how to pick his moment.
After eight years of speculation, rumor and gossip that he would marry his girlfriend, Kate Middleton, the second in line to the throne of England chooses to get engaged around the same time his country announces historic budget cuts that include slashing 500,000 public-sector jobs and making brutal cuts to welfare and pensions. Love knows no recession, we suppose.
Critics of the monarchy are sure to snipe that a lavish royal wedding is preposterous during such austere times. The image of Middleton walking down the center aisle of Westminster Abbey dripping in diamonds does not exactly fit with that of unemployed British workers protesting in the streets over steep benefit cuts.
But the nuptials of Kate & Wills may in fact be just what Britain needs. On the grandest of scales, a royal wedding is a unifying event writ large, a celebration that can bring people together and gives them, at least momentarily, a happy diversion. Indeed, public officials seem almost giddy at the news. Prime Minister David Cameron has said that members of his cabinet responded with a "great cheer" and "banging of the table" when he told them the news. Even the most hardened of critics would be hard pressed to express scorn over two young people deciding to tie the knot.
Of course, lavishness amid hardship is not always received so well. When AIG executives set off to five-star retreats while the company burned, American taxpayers were incensed. And Tony Hayward's yachting during the BP oil spill crisis was an unrivaled public relations gaffe.
Yes, a royal wedding will be expensive, and surely, it will be showy. Even if the couple decides to have a more modern, less ostentatious affair, there's sure to be plenty of pomp and circumstance to go around. But in this case, all that extravagance will be everyone's luxury. And that's something we could all use a little more of these days.
November 16, 2010; 3:12 PM ET |
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